STAND. COM. REP. NO. 2122
RE: S.B. No. 2276
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Twenty-Ninth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2018
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Human Services, to which was referred S.B. No. 2276 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO CHILD WELFARE SERVICES,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to appropriate funds for:
(1) The Department of Human Services to establish a five-year pilot program in the East Hawaii Child Welfare Services Section in Hawaii County that limits the number of children per child welfare services caseworker to no more than twenty; and
(2) Additional case managers and support staff for the pilot program.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Human Services; Office of the Mayor, County of Hawai‘i; Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, County of Hawai‘i; Oahu County Committee on Legislative Priorities of the Democratic Party of Hawaii; Hawaii Life Alliance; Calvary Chapel Pearl Harbor; and twenty-five individuals.
Your Committee finds that in 2015, the rate of confirmed cases of child abuse or neglect was two hundred thirteen children per 100,000 residents in Hawaii County. Your Committee further finds that layoffs and hiring restrictions have caused the East Hawaii Child Welfare Services Section to lose positions, resulting in an increase in average caseloads per caseworker. The pilot project proposed by this measure provides an opportunity to demonstrate the positive impact of adequate staffing levels on the well-being of at-risk children and families in east Hawaii.
Your Committee also notes that the Department of Human Services recognizes the recruitment and retention of young caseworkers as a critical but challenging effort to maintaining appropriate caseloads per worker. In response to a new generation entering the workforce, the department is currently investing in its technology system to improve data sharing across programs and agencies and streamline processes to assist and engage young caseworkers.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Human Services that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 2276 and recommends that it pass Second Reading and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Human Services,
JOSH GREEN, Chair